January 30, 2011

Garde-Manger Restaurant "I'm like, emotional"

To be more specific, I would like to give you the exact quote from Cathy's experience there EN QUÉBECOIS: "Chu comme, émotionelle la, tsé". 

Me, Chuck Hughes and Cathy in the Garde-Manger kitchen
You know sometimes, you go to a restaurant and you sit down, eat and just leave. Regular stuff. But at Garde Manger it was an EXPERIENCE! A pleasant one on top of that! I'm not gonna lie...I had been trying to get a reservation there for the past 3 weeks with no success and when I finally got the RSVP....it was at the bar. Can I say dissapointment? Yes, but not until I actually got there. Sitting at the bar was actually awesome, especially with Zoe offering you drinks and Kyle asking you what your favorite Motown joint is :) Any who, this small cozy restaurant felt just like home the moment we entered it. Brick walls, dimmed lighting, candles, pretty people...how could you not love it? 

Before I talk about the food I am judging that is is very, extremely important to
talk about the first thing that blew me away
at Garde-Manger: The impeccable and effortless service. Let me break it down for you with our little anectode! You know how sometimes,  in those cute and cozy restaurants, they write the menu on a chalkboard? Well unfortunately I had forgotten my glasses (fail, but pretty typical of clumsy-me)...so imagine the scene: Me and Cathy switching her glasses back and forth just so that we could read the menu. Funny...But then Zoe, without us even asking, went around the bar, stood between us, explained the whole menu and answered all our questions! All of that while being relaxed...with a smile on her face. Nice...This is what I call customer service excellence. Had to give them props for that!

And as for the food....drum rolls...itt was good! I think it totally owns up to its "great sea food" reputation on top of having a good meat selection. My tastebuds went gaga for my apetizer which was duck confit, arugula, rassembleu (blue cheese) and onion rings. The duck had an amazing spice which neither me or Cathy couldn identify! Too bad I had to put all the cheese on the side because of my lactose intolerance but it seemed like a perfect balance with the crunchiness of the onion ring and the tenderness of the duck. Cathy had the tomato salad with avocado, cucumber and fried cheddar as an apetizer. She finished it too fast for me to really taste it...that's a good sign, right? They served the bread with a side of cream cheese with caramelized onions and smoked paprika. Different, I must say.  I was satisfied with my bbq short ribs (incredibly tender and tasty) which were served with spatzle (a grain that reminds me of pasta) and fried jalapeño popper. Although my main course was very good, it was still hard to compare to Cathy's meal: Seared scallops, potato gratin, a huge piece of bacon and carroty butter. Can I say YUMMY? Cathy is a picky eater, she ate it all. Cathy doesn't like bacon.... and she ate the bacon, which was perfect with the scallops. And speaking of bacon...we kept trying to figure out how they made it taste so good...We finally concluded that the pig was fed with his favorite organic food throughout his life and died of a natural death in his sleep with a smile on his face. Yep. Next time I think I'll try their lobster poutine or lobster pot pie... Let's not forget to mention that we had all that good food with a glass of red  Poccolomini. Couldn't ask for better!

But guess what? We got better! Not only did we get to taste our neighbor's amazing seafood risotto, but Chuck Hughes, the chef at Garde Manger, sent us some mouth watering desert: doughnuts with "half half" whipped cream (Half whipped cream, half cream cheese). Notice how Cathy, who is lactose intolerant like me, ATE all of the whipped cream, even with no doughnuts left. That's how good it was. I'd like to thank Chuck for his warm welcome and for adding fun and humor to our little visit in the kitchen. Seems like everyone working there is having a blast and truly share a common vision in the culinary and customer service excellence areas. 

Yeah, we're going back this week.

To know more about Chuck Hughes, check out these links!

-His website: www.chuckhughes.ca
-His Facebook page
-His section on Food Network Canada

Garde Manger is located on 408 rue St-François-Xavier in Montreal. Call 514-678-5044 to RSVP: It's very important to reserve, it's a small place that gets filled up very quickly!

Checking out the wine list

Tomato salad with avocado, cucumber and fried cheddar

Duck confit with arugula, rassembleu and onion ring

Bread with the caramelized onions and paprika cream cheese

BBQ short ribs with spatzle and fried jalapeno popper

Seared scallops, potato gratin, bacon and carroty butter

Cathy having a food-gasm

The doughnuts! I asked for the whipped cream on the side.

She litteraly ATE the whipped cream!


  1. sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo... when are we going back?

  2. Nice post and very descriptive. I'm jealous that you got to meet Chuck! Seems like it was a good time. I will have to put this down as my next stop to Montreal. Thanks.


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